James I. Robertson to Headline BC Civil War Institute

February 24, 2015

James I. Robertson Jr. – one of the nation’s most distinguished Civil War historians – will headline the eighth annual Bridgewater College Civil War Institute on Saturday, March 21.

 The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Spoerlein Lecture Hall (Room 100) of the college’s McKinney Center for Science and Mathematics. Registration is not required.

Robertson – a former professor of history at Virginia Tech and an award-winning author and editor – will help the college commemorate the final year of the Civil War sesquicentennial with an address titled, “Whatever Happened To…?” The talk, which is based on a new book by Robertson, will explore the post-war fates of a number of well-known Civil War figures, such as photographer Matthew Brady.

The Institute will also focus on “Appomattox: The Last Days of the Civil War,” and will feature a slate of renowned scholars as panelists, including Abraham Lincoln scholar and Bridgewater College president emeritus Phillip C. Stone.

About the speakers:

James I. Robertson Jr.

Robertson, who was the Alumni Distinguished Professor in History at Virginia Tech from 1967 to 2011, is the founding executive director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. He is considered the preeminent scholar on Confederate Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. His massive biography of Jackson won eight national awards and was used as the basis for the movie “Gods and Generals,” for which Robertson served as chief historical consultant.

A native of Danville, Va., Robertson was executive director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission and worked with presidents Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson in marking the war’s 100th anniversary. He is a charter member of Virginia’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

Robertson has authored 18 books, including award-winners General A.P. Hill, Soldiers Blue and Gray, and Civil War! America Becomes One Nation.

Phillip C. Stone

Stone, who has spent decades studying, writing and speaking about President Abraham Lincoln and is one of the most respected and quoted Lincoln scholars in the country, is a member of the Advisory Board of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and the Virginia Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. He is also the founder and president of the Lincoln Society of Virginia.

Stone is a 1965 alumnus of Bridgewater College who served as the college’s president from 1994 to 2010, overseeing a period of intellectual, financial and physical growth for the institution. During his leadership, endowment growth secured Bridgewater’s future; academic programs, facilities and technology expanded; and enrollment nearly doubled.

For 24 years prior to his Bridgewater presidency, Stone practiced law, rising to the leadership of the Virginia Bar Association.

Patrick Schroeder

Patrick Schroeder is chief historian at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.  He has written or edited and published 16 Civil War titles, including Thirty Myths About Lee’s Surrender, More Myths About Lee’s Surrender, The Confederate Cemetery at Appomattox and Recollections and Reminiscences of Old Appomattox and Its People.

Richard Sommers

Richard Sommers was senior historian of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (AHEC) and a professor at the U.S. Army War College. He retired in 2014 after spending more than 43 years at AHEC. 

He is the author of Richmond Redeemed: The Siege at Petersburg, along with more than 100 other books, articles, entries and reviews on the Civil War and military history. He is a frequent speaker at Civil War roundtables, seminars and conferences, as well as on television and radio.

“As we examine the final year of the Civil War, the Institute takes great pleasure in featuring this slate of our nation’s most preeminent historians,” said Nick Picerno, the institute’s co-founder and the college’s chief of police. “This is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed by anyone who is interested in the single most transforming event in American history – the Civil War.”